Today’s guest picture comes from Gavin, who had the energy to go and admire the River Annan in full spate yesterday.
The weather was quite a bit kinder today which was fortunate as we had a 65 mile to Berwick-on-Tweed on the menu. It hardly rained all day and the wind was very meek.
We set off after breakfast and made a brief stop in Hawick to pick up a cup which had been engraved for Mrs Tootlepedal. She won it at the Langholm Show in the autumn for a splendid embroidery depicting the nuns in the Sound of Music following every rainbow….and climbing every mountain…and crossing every stream. There was a lot of work in it.
We motored on past Kelso and over the Tweed into England at Coldstream until we arrived safely at Berwick.
It is a geographical anomaly that although Scotland as a country is to the north of England, Berwick, the northernmost town in England is quite a long way to the north of Langholm, one of the southernmost towns in Scotland. This is because the powers that be foolishly ran the boundary down the middle of a river so that people who live in the in the same valley live in two different countries.
Still, it is a very pleasant drive.
We met our daughter Annabel bang on schedule and had a cup of reviving coffee followed by a quick tour of riverside Berwick.
The town is surrounded by a defensive wall and as you walk along below it, there are many little entries.
We walked up onto the wall at Sandgate.
You can walk right wound the town. I quote from the visit Northumberland websiteL
Berwick actually has two sets of walls, the first – of which only fragments now remain – was built by Edward II, and was two and a half miles long.
The second set of walls is a mile and three-quarter in length. The ramparts completely surround the town, and there are only four gates through the walls.
Berwick’s wall is now the only intact Elizabethan town wall remaining in England and when it was built in 1558 – designed to keep out the marauding Scots who regularly laid claim to the town – it was the most expensive undertaking of England’s golden age.
The walls were built to an Italian design and contained bastions which were designed to give fire cover for every part of the wall.
Outside the curtain wall, as well as round the bastions, there were wide ditches kept full of water in order to deter potential invaders.
What the website doesn’t say is that they were never used in anger which may be why they have survived so well.
We didn’t walk round them as we wanted to drive south down the North Sea coast before lunch. We were thinking of looking at Holy Island but as it started to rain heavily, we passed that by and stopped at Bamburgh Castle instead.
We had an exciting moment on the way.
This was an east coast mainline train whizzing by. It is the only state owned railway company in the country and is both popular and profitable. Since this is an offence to the beliefs of the present government, they are going to sell it….probably to a state owned railway company of France or Germany. This presumably makes sense to someone but not to me.
By the time we got to Bamburgh, the rain had stopped and we went for a walk round the castle.
We followed a path through the sand dunes to the right of the castle.
There were a good many others who were enjoying a walk too but there was plenty of room for us all.
I was beginning to regret that I had not brought a camera with me and was having to rely on my phone.
Turning back from the sea, the castle looked impressive on its rock.
We went back to the dunes and followed a good path right round the castle and back to the car.
We were looking for a place for lunch so we drove inland towards the Cheviot Hills and the little town of Wooler. We passed a really elegant bridge over the River Till on our way.
Once in Wooler, we found just the place….
…unassuming in appearance but warm and comfortable inside and purveying first class egg, sausage, black pudding and chips for our lunch.
After lunch, we had a stroll round the town to shake the chips down and noticed that Wooler seemed to have a lot of churches. We were admiring this one…
..when the lady whom you can see in the picture, came up and remarked that it was even odder inside. She told us that the original building had been a simple square box and the tower and the crenellated roof were later additions. When we looked at the stonework, we could see that she was quite clearly right.
It had some very nice windows round the back.
The day was drawing on now and we wanted to be home before dark so we got back into the car and headed home. We made a brief stop again in Hawick, this time to pick up some food from Sainsbury’s. We were very pleased to see a most unusual sight when we came out.
The clouds gathered again as we headed south and I really wished that I had had my camera with me as we crossed the Teviot as the colours were terrific. We stopped for a better look.
My phone could capture the reflections in the river and the huge puddle in the field beyond it but it couldn’t record the glimpse of blue sky at the heart of the brightness behind. It is a lesson to me not to come out without a good camera in hand or pocket. It was a glorious sight though and I will have to be content with just seeing it.
We reluctantly got back in the car and completed our journey. The timing was very neat and we arrived just as the last of the daylight faded away.
We all agreed that it had been a splendid day out and we all collapsed into chairs to recover from it over a nice cup of tea.
There was no time for a flying bird today so I will end on a perching picture of a stonechat at Bamburgh taken by my daughter with her new camera. This is the first one of these that I have ever knowingly seen.